Spend the day focusing on traditional female roles and the impact this has on sexual violence.
While women’s rights have come a long way from not being allowed to own property, vote, or even have the choice to use birth control, we still have a long way to go. Society still reinforces limited roles for women. Take a look at how women are portrayed in mainstream media. What are the common images you see of women in music videos? What “women’s roles” do you see reinforced on reality TV? Or, how are women used in marketing campaigns? By and large, the current portrayal of women in mainstream media reinforces subtle and overt messages that women are to act and be treated as sexual objects to be used and/or abused.
By making it normal to sexually objectify women, we send clear messages about women’s roles and value in our society. These messages encourage girls to see themselves as sexual objects. The value of women and girls is defined by our relationships to men, creating a dichotomy of those who have power and those who do not. For boys, this sends messages early on that they have all the power, and that it is okay to treat girls and women as sexual objects.
Setting up such standards prevents us from having open and honest conversations about gender roles. It prevents people from exploring who they are and how they self identify along the gender continuum. It does not provide safe space for honest gender expression.
Spend the day focusing on what “type(s)” of women you see in mainstream media. What messages do you receive about women’s value? What are the implications for female victims of sexual violence?